Artificial Insemination/ Intra Uterine Insemination (IUI)
Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is a fertility treatment that involves placing sperm inside a woman's uterus to facilitate fertilization. Sperm sample is washed, the goal of procedure is to increase the number of sperm that reach the fallopian tubes by increasing motility of sperm and subsequently increase the chance of fertilization
IUI provides the sperm an advantage by giving it a head start, but still requires a sperm to reach and fertilize the egg on its own. It is a less invasive and less expensive option compared to in vitro fertilization.
When is IUI used?
The most common reasons for IUI are a low sperm count or decreased sperm mobility.
However, IUI may be selected as a fertility treatment for any of the following conditions as well:
- Female factors – PCO or irregular periods, endometriosis of grade 1 or 2
- Unexplained infertility
- A hostile cervical condition, including cervical mucus problems
- Cervical scar tissue from past procedures which may hinder the sperms' ability to enter the uterus
- Erectile & Ejaculation dysfunction
- Immunological – Antibodies present in female
Performing an IUI
- The whole process only takes a few minutes and is usually painless. Patient should hence try to relax and take it easy the day of the IUI.
- No anesthesia is needed.
- You have to empty bladder/ pass urine before the procedure.
- You will be taken to a procedure room where you need to undress from the waist down.
- You will lie down on an examination table and cover yourself with a drape sheet. (fig-1)
- After being ready, doctor will first insert a speculum into your vagina, as in a smear test, to keep your vaginal walls apart. Vagina is then cleaned with medium and a small catheter (a soft, flexible tube) will then be inserted into your womb via your cervix (fig-2) The best-quality sperm will be selected and inserted through the catheter.
- After insemination, you'll be asked to lie on your back for a brief period around 15-20min. Once the procedure is over, you can get dressed and go about your normal daily activities.
Some women experience cramping and/or spotting after the procedure is over, which quickly lessens or goes away completely.
In some cases, patients are instructed to undergo have a second insemination on consecutive day.
While IUI is a less invasive and less expensive option, pregnancy rates from IUI are lower than those from IVF. Some couples want to explore more traditional or over the counter efforts before exploring infertility procedures. Patients may talk with their doctor to discuss various available options.